Join Me in Florida!

By 1492 the last Muslims fleeing the Inquisition left the coasts of Iberia, setting off a train of events unforeseen by any but the God of Providence, Lord of the Earth. The House of Aragon and the House of Castile had earlier united in the marriage of cousins, 17-year-old King Ferdinand and 18-year-old Queen Isabella, combining the kingdoms that eventually led to the modern nation called Spain. In 1492 they gave approval for a skilled navigator, designated “Admiral of the Oceans,” Christopher Columbus, to seek a sea route to the Far East by sailing westward across the Atlantic Ocean.

While the 16th Century would become the era of the Reformation, Europe would also witness the rise of the mighty empire of Spain that would encircle the globe, conquer ancient civilizations, and brook no successful challengers to its professional, arrogant, and rapacious armies. The explorers launched out into the oceans, closely followed by the conquistadors and the missionary priests of the Roman Catholic Church, baptizing the conquered peoples and leaving a cultural influence that continues to thrive in South America, Central America, and the American southwest.

The legacy of Spanish conquest still lies embedded in the oldest continuously inhabited place in the continental United States, St. Augustine. Founded on “St. Augustine’s Day” in the liturgical calendar, a great fortress known as Castillo de San Marcos (The Castle of St. Mark) arose, to tower over the settlement both as a protection for the Spaniards defending the frontiers, as well as a potential launching pad for the further conquest of North America.

This tour is a car tour. All venue admissions are included in registration. Each family is responsible for their own food and for their own transportation to each destination within the tour. For a map of the different destinations and their addresses, click here.

Event Schedule*

Thursday, February 13

  • 7:00pm — Lecture at site TBA in St. Augustine

Friday, February 14

  • 9:00am — Meet at Castillo de San Marcos Visitor Center
  • 11:00am — Fountain of Youth
  • 1:00pm — Lunch on your own. Drive to Jacksonville.
  • 2:30pm — Meet at Ft. Caroline
  • 4:30pm — Free time and dinner on your own

Saturday, February 15

  • 8:30am — Lecture in St. Augustine
  • 9:30am — Pirate Museum
  • 11:30am — Lunch on your own. Drive to Olustee
  • 2:30pm — Enter Olustee Battlefield
  • 3:30pm — Battlefield reenactment

* Times are subject to change.

Event Speakers

Joining us in Florida for the Pirates, Presidents, Conquistadors and More tour are speakers Bill Potter and Col. John Eidsmoe.

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Bill Potter Colonel John Eidsmoe

Join historian Bill Potter as we explore the ancient sites of northeastern Florida, redolent with the sea breezes of the Atlantic and steeped in a providential history that helped create the English civilization that became embedded north of Florida and brought about the abandonment of the outposts of Spain’s Empire in North America. We will tell the stories of the Fort at St. Augustine and the French Huguenot colony at Jacksonville, Ft. Caroline. We will remember the courageous Reformed settlers who brought the Gospel to the natives of the region and their subsequent extermination by the Spanish for the capitol crime of rejecting the Catholic Church and following the Calvinist Reformation. We will examine the lives and times of fearless conquistadors, superstitious explorers seeking the fountain of youth, the ferocious no-holds-barred Scots-Irish General Andrew Jackson who seized Florida and would not give it back, and the natives who suffered through all the invasions and fought a war with the United States that was never concluded!

We will also attend one of the most interesting Sesquicentennial Civil War reenactments of 2014 at the scene of the largest battle fought in Florida. A Confederate victory in a strange place of palm trees and swamp grass, the Battle of Olustee took place hundreds of miles from the main theaters of action. The army of Georgia and Florida Regiments routed an army of New York, Massachusetts and Colored troops—for the Union, the second bloodiest battle of the war per number of troops engaged.